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Awesome Documentary: Terms and conditions may apply

I saw the “Terms and conditions may apply” movie yesterday and I think you should see it too. I really like how they built up the case for online privacy. They use facts to make us think about the implications losing our privacy and at the end of the movie they give some frightening real life examples of innocent people that have bullied by governments and big corporations.

I think this is a must see movie. Most of the people I asked if they are concerned with their online privacy consider that will not be affected by the fact that other people have access to their private information. They say that they have nothing to hide, that they are not that important and they are not afraid if people know what they do online. Until recently I thought pretty much the same…

The scary part is not that other people know what you do online, the scary part is that other people have access to your data but do not know the context.

Online privacy issues

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There is a big difference between people knowing what you do online and having access to your data (Google searches, emails, Facebook posts, text messages, Facebook messages). The thing is that data without context can be interpreted in many ways. And keep in mind that this data can be and probably is stored forever. So if at one point somebody who does not agree with your views comes to power they
can profile you based on your past online activity. From there to being persecuted will be a small step. That I find very disturbing.

In this documentary there are a few frightening examples of how this massive surveillance is already being used. Do you know minority report and how “in the future“ police makes preemptive arrests based on the intention of someone… well that thing already happened.

Here is the “Terms and conditions may apply” documentary trailer.

How to protect your privacy?

Here is what I think you should do to protect your privacy.

  1. Be aware of it and understand the implications of other people having access to it
  2. Vote/support people that want to protect your online privacy
  3. As a last resort equip yourself to become more private
  • Use a VPN
  • Use browser privacy extensions like: Privacy Badger
  • Stay offline

I’ll end up this post with my favorite quote from this movie:

You have nothing to hide until you don’t

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Chrun vs retention

Bluntly put, churn means how many users stop using your product/service and retention means how many people keep using your products. Every company should focus on either minimizing churn or increase retention. At first glance these actions seem to have the same end result, it’s like rephrasing something without changing the meaning. I think it’s not like that. I think that saying one instead of the other can have deeper implication for the business. Here is why…

Focusing on retention is better than focusing on churn

Implications of using minimizing churn.

When the goal is to minimize churn, the entire company will focus on the things they can do to stop people from leaving. This has an inherent bad feeling tied to it. When your users stop using the app or service, it means that you are doing something wrong. This will add to the pressure and limit your creativity. Also, by focusing your attention exclusively on how to stop whatever is driving users away, you are limiting your pool of ideas, because you only consider what you are already doing instead of what you could do.

When you want to minimize churn you basically say how can we stop people from leaving, what can we do to make them hate us less?

Implications of using increasing retention

On the other hand, when you want to increase retention the main question is: how do we make people love our service even more? How do we make them stay longer? Do you see the difference?

Now you focus on a positive thing. This can spark creativity and my bet is that will bring better results.

I know that all this is a matter of phrasing, but if you believe all the NLP enthusiasts, a small difference in how you say things could make a huge difference.

So, what do you think about this theory?

Image by Imran Chaudhry

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The weird thing about productivity

This morning I was browsing reddit on my iPad, and because I wanted to feel a bit more productive I was also listening to a podcast about innovation, … or better said I was trying to listen to a podcast. Apparently paying attention to someone else talking while you browse pictures of funny cats is harder than I imagined.

After doing that for a few minutes, I realized that the podcast listening activity is going nowhere. So I was facing a choice, either stop browsing reddit and listen to the podcast, or stop listening and continue browsing. And here comes the weird part, at that moment, intuitively it felt more productive to browse reddit. That made me stop and think: why is that?

Why doing something not productive feels more productive than it is?

Here is my theory. I think that I am wired to think that passive activities are less productive than active activities, and I bet I am not the only one.

Example: so for me listening an informative podcast and doing nothing felt less productive than tapping on my screen and watching cats. I believe it has something to do with the nature of the action. I believe that active activities feel more productive than passive activities simply because it’s simpler to quantify or see the results.

Can this be true? Do you have a better explanation? Also, I wonder how this connection influences our daily life and choices we make. I will take different decisions now that I’m aware of this.

Does this make sense to you? Have you ever noticed this?